Kepler telescope transferred to safe mode

The Kepler mission team announced the decision to suspend all scientific operations of the telescope and transfer it to safe mode. It was taken as a result of the analysis of telemetry received from the apparatus on July 2. According to engineers, the data obtained indicate a drop in pressure in its fuel system. This is a sign that the stocks of hydrazine on board the telescope are almost exhausted.
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On 12 May, Kepler launched its 18th observation campaign, carried out as part of the expanded K2 mission. The exoplanet hunter was supposed to study a portion of the sky in the constellation of Cancer for 82 days. However, due to information about the pressure drop in the fuel system, the observation program was cut to 51 days.
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The problem with determining the amount of fuel on board the Kepler is due to the fact that the instruments of the telescope do not register the exact value of the hydrazine residues in the tanks. Therefore, specialists have to estimate its quantity on the basis of the initial stock and estimated costs during the corrections.They also closely monitor indicators such as tank pressure and engine performance.
When Kepler finally exhausts all fuel reserves, the mission’s experts will no longer be able to send its antenna to Earth. This means that all the data collected by him will be irretrievably lost. Therefore, the Kepler team chose a “bird in hand”, deciding to donate the remaining observation program to avoid the risk that the telescope does not have enough fuel to transmit information.
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In the coming weeks, the telescope will be in safe mode, without making any course corrections. On August 2, experts will “wake up” Kepler and try to carry out the maneuver necessary for the transmission of data from the 18th campaign. The further fate of the telescope will depend on its success. If Kepler passes all the collected information and maintains controllability, the mission team intends to start the 19th observation campaign.

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Kepler telescope transferred to safe mode

Kepler telescope transferred to safe mode

Kepler telescope transferred to safe mode

Kepler telescope transferred to safe mode

Kepler telescope transferred to safe mode

Kepler telescope transferred to safe mode

Kepler telescope transferred to safe mode

Kepler telescope transferred to safe mode

Kepler telescope transferred to safe mode

Kepler telescope transferred to safe mode

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